A one-stop destination for your Rocky Mountain adventure, the quirky resort town of Banff in
Crowned by Mount Royal, from which the bustling city of Montreal gets its name, this is a prosperous cosmopolitan hub. Atop Mount Royal at the heart of the city is a beautiful park where you–ll find the Jacques Cartier and King George VI monuments, a short distance from the summit to the stunning panorama across the Ã?le de MontrÃ©al and the St. Lawrence. Visit Old Montreal by the waterfront to get a feel of the historic Parisian-style quarters on your way to the Notre Dame Basilica, or stop by the McCord Museum of Canadian History at the Rue Sherbrooke. With a diverse mix of parks, museums and gardens, the colourful Square Saint Louis, the Lachine Canal and the lively Chinatown, Montreal has a treat for every traveller.
Canada: Scenic Trains
Perhaps the best way to take in the scenic beauty of this country would be from one of the many train rides available. From the Rocky Mountains to city skylines, forests to farms, the scenic trains give you the chance to see all of these from the comfort of your luxury seat; some even halt long enough to let you go out and take a stroll around the landscape. The most popular train is the Canadian, which does a four-day-long journey between Toronto and Vancouver. Another great option is the Rocky Mountaineer Train, which offers journeys of varying lengths while the Polar Bear Express is a one-day trip offering a quick way to explore the north. For a bit of extravagance, try the VIA Rail–s 21-hour long The Ocean; just sit back and relax.
Abundant with natural diversity, Alaska is home to some of the largest national parks in the United States. Hike across the Denali National Park at the northern Alaska Range, home to grizzly bears, wolves and reindeer, or sail down the fjords for the stunning glacial landscape to the Inside Passage. A drive down the Alaska Highway will land you in the heart of Fairbanks, a favourite for witnessing the spectacular Northern Lights. Alaska is a hotspot for salmon fishing, sea kayaking, flying over Mt McKinley, whitewater rafting and even whale watching.
USA: New York
A city busting with life and light, NYC is a destination on all travellers– bucket lists. From the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State building, every corner has a story to tell. Spend your mornings hanging out in Central Park and evenings enjoying the nightlife around Times Square. Art addicts will be spoilt for choice, with some of the world–s best museums and galleries such as The Met and the Guggenheim. Or take a walk around St Patrick–s Cathedral for some Gothic Revival vibrancy. If you find yourself in the mood to shop, get thee to Fifth Avenue. Musicals rarely get as good as they do on Broadway, and a walk across Brooklyn Bridge brings a perfect end to a perfect day
USA: New Orleans
The birthplace of jazz, set along the Mississippi River, New Orleans is a melting pot of traditions. Visit Bourbon Street in the French Quarter to experience the jazz hotspots and entertainment nightlife, or sail down the river on Steamboat Natchez. Jackson Square, Royal Street and the City Park are wonderful spots to spend the day taking in the history and beauty of the city, not to mention shopping. Stop by St Louis Cathedral, the United States– oldest in continuous use. The city also offers a variety of museums and gardens for the everyday traveller. And, of course, if you time your visit right, you can–t miss the exotic Mardi Gras festival, or at the Mardi Gras World.
The paradise of the Pacific. The northernmost island group in Polynesia, the Hawaii archipelago stretches across the central Pacific Ocean; this is the only US state not located in the Americas. Rich in culture and tourism, Hawaii offers a variety of oceanfront activities in cities like Waikiki and Maui. Visit the Volcanoes National Park in the Big Island to get up close to an active volcano or take a trip down to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. The Waipio Valley offers stunning cliff views and a drive down Hana Road will introduce you to traditional Hawaiian culture. Haleakala National Park and the Mauna Kea are perfect for mountain lovers.
USA: Giant Redwoods
Welcome to giant country, where coast redwood trees tower higher than any living organism on earth. Drive through–quite literally–the Chandelier Tree in Leggett on your way to the famous –Avenue of the Giants– or get up close to the affable giants by hiking across the North Grove walking loop. Make sure you visit Yosemite National Park to experience the grandeur of the massive sequoias and cower under the infamous –Grizzly Giant– along the mountains, valleys, rivers and numerous waterfalls. Experience the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Sequoia National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, or even the Redwood National Park–you will truly be spoilt for choice while visiting the giant redwood
Known for its larger than life parties and vibrant nightlife, Miami is the –in– place for the young, the old and everyone in between. The infamous Miami Beach is the textbook definition of a tourist–s paradise–beaches, malls, Art Deco buildings and, of course, shopping; name it, and it–s there. Cruise down Ocean Drive at any time for some sightseeing and take in the pastel-coloured flavours of the city. With numerous museums, gardens, zoos and underwater worlds, Miami offers activities for everyone. Head on over to Little Havana for some distinctive Latin culture or spend the day walking around the Bayfront Park to enjoy the city–s charm
USA: Grand Canyon
Carved over centuries by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon exposes nearly two billion years of the earth–s history. Other than being one of nature–s stunning works of art, the Grand Canyon also offers a multitude of activities. Entry is open on both sides but the South Rim, where you can access the visitor centre to get a brief history of the canyon, is open year-round. A walk along one of America–s most scenic paths, the Rim Trail, offers extraordinary viewing points. The Bright Angel Hiking trail offers hikes of varying lengths, especially great if you–d like to spot some canyon wildlife.
The oldest national park in the United States, Yellowstone is known best for its unique geothermal landscapes, rivers, valleys, geysers, lakes and waterfalls. Head to –Old Faithful–, a geyser named for its semi-regular eruptions, and drive along the Grand Loop to cover most of Yellowstone–s attractions. Experience the psychedelic view of the Midway Geyser Basin, or try the Norris Geyser Basin for a lunar landscape. Mammoth hot springs and Minerva Terrace make for a photographer–s paradise, while the Mount Washburn trail is a favourite with hikers. A great spot for wildlife watching, Hayden Valley also has a stunning waterfall.
USA: Whiskey Trail
For those with a taste for the finer bourbons and a passion to unearth the history of American whiskey, Distilled Spirits Council–s American Whiskey Trail might just be the perfect flag-off. Whether you–re a whiskey connoisseur or novice, a few days on the trail is all you need to get hooked to the liquid sunshine. Tour the Mount Vernon Distillery in DC, and the Corsair Artisan Distillery in Nashville to try the Cocoa Bourbon Whiskey. Travel across Tennessee and head to Kentucky, home of classic American bourbon. Hit up some of the distilleries to learn about the origins of the drink you–ve been guzzling and don–t forget to check out some honkytonks while on the Whiskey Trail. Some of the more prominent distilleries include the Jack Daniels Distillery, Woodford Reserve Distillery for the official bourbon of the Belmont Stakes with hints of maple, hickory and sassafras finished in Pinot Noir barrels. Also visit the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum.
USA: The Great Lakes
With the total area of the lakes nearly as big as the United Kingdom, the Great Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. The lakes are guarded by great cities like Toronto, Detroit and Chicago, which offer a wide variety of food, drinks and activities around the lakeshores. The underrated beaches around the lakes offer the experience of being at sea, sans all the salt. The clear waters of the lakes in wonderous hues of turquoise are a favourite for fishing and surfing among the locals. There are a number of different attractions around the great lakes, the greatest of them being the formidable Niagara Falls, although regions like the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Apostle Islands and the Isle Royale come in a close second.
With the Caribbean sand between your toes, the sultry Havana wind ruffling your hair, vintage cars, salsa dancing and an abundance of rum, there are few things more delightful than an evening in Cuba. Immerse yourself in its rich history in Old Havana, taking in the baroque and neoclassical architecture. Explore the town of Trinidad with cobblestone streets winding through the colonial buildings, or experience the 17th-century fortress at Castillo de San Pedro del Morro. Wander around Cuba–s sandy beaches at Varadero, Playa ParaÃso or Cayo Coco, or visit the crocodile farm at Peninsula de Zapata. The secluded beach of Guardalavaca offers day trips for jungle adventures and sailing as well as tours of Santiago de Cuba.
Also known as Teotihuacan, Tituachan is one of the ancient Mesoamerican cities of the pre-Columbian Americas, located in a sub valley of the Valley of Mexico, 48km south of Mexico City. Home to the largest ancient pyramids in the world, Tituachan is known to be the place where men became gods. Towering high is the Temple of the Sun, joined to the stunning Temple of the Moon by the Avenue of the Dead. The Palace of the Jaguars stands next to the most beautiful temple in the vicinity–the Palace of the Quetzalpapalotl, or divine butterfly. The Museo Teotihuacan displays a miniature recreation of the entire site and a number of different exhibits, ready to take you back to the Mexico of times past.Â